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A rigid but adjustable force-sensing system for arm strength metrics

A Major League Baseball Team was looking to get highly repeatable and accurate arm strength measurements to evaluate fatigue and injury recovery in pitchers. I was the Team Lead in a group of four Pitt students as part of the school's XProject program to deliver a system to be used at spring training facilities. The designed structure can handle the arm strengths of professional pitchers, adjust according to height and arm length, and can be quickly manipulated to measure arm strength in over ten different exercises. It also collapses for easy storage and shipping. Throughout the process I worked closely with the client to ensure a viable product for a unique user.


Making a system strong enough to handle some of the most talented arms in the country was quite the design challenge. Aluminum was used throughout to withstand the force of a professional pitcher without noticeable deflection or movement of the structure, and I paid special attention to the stress on every joint of the structure.


Rapid iterations and prototype developments were critical for this tight deadline project. I used 3D Printing to quickly test and improve designs. The dynamometer holder seen to the left underwent multiple design changes over the course of a week to develop a durable but easily adjustable solution.


As storage was a key need for the user, an important design challenge was to create a structure that could size up to accommodate large professional athletes, but also pack into a small profile for storage. I designed a removable arm piece with a custom, user-friendly sliding mechanism for easy adjustment and configuration.


After our team completed the first phase of this project, the project underwent a couple more phases to replace the dynamometer with a load cell, create a visual display, and further improve on rigidity and flexibility. I was able to help these phases as a project manager and mentor, and the main point of contact with our client. The latest version is currently used daily, and we will likely be fabricating multiple for future use at multiple locations for the client.

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